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Touching Lives

Is life measured in trophies, In frequent flyer miles, miles per hour, in con calls, Time-line crunches, in business brunches; Is life measured in Oxford shoes & prince drapes, in corner offices

Or is life also measured in the lives we touch.

I believe in the later part.

It all started in 2012. After having a festive lunch, I was talking with my sister-in-law who happens to be science teacher in a Government high school at a village near Tumkur. We were discussing about the educational qualities of Government schools and how policy makers can improve it. In that discussion, I came to know it’s not only policy maker’s job to improve the rural education system and a normal person like me can also contribute and make difference. Majority of the students of her school were from very poor background who were not able to afford note books. Those kids used to write on the backside of marriage invitation card because they were not able to buy a note book. I was moved with this. Then I decided I should do something for these kids. Fortunately, I was part of SANKALPA which is a big group of good- and kind-hearted friends. With the help of Facebook, I posted a request for note book donation drive. Within a span of a week I was able to pool money for the donation drive. This made me to realize that world is full of good people who are ready to help, and they are just missing a system to connect the dots. And I was happy to do that. Contacts in SANKALPA helped us to get note books with cheaper price after knowing the cause. Then my manager at SAP also donated SAP bags to the students. Our first visit was huge success. During our note book drive, we came to know that the students were also in need of geometry box, atlas and other study materials. We did our next drive for that cause. This event was so successful that the schools from other villages were also approaching us for note book drive. Again, we did with the help of SANKALPA friends.

It’s been 7 years for this activity and we have enhanced this program by not only distributing notebooks, but also distributing SSLC question banks, dictionaries, Projector etc., Recently we also introduced the students to our Code Unnati Employee Volunteering program, which comes under SAP’s rural digital literacy program. I would like to thank my SANKALPA friends, family, colleagues and SAP who made it happen. With these supporting people I have no intention of stopping this wonderful activity. Hope this piece of work might inspire others to do similar activities.

PS: SANKALPA is an interest group @ SAP Labs, Bengaluru.

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